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National Review
National Review
24 Feb 2024
David Zimmermann


NextImg:Trump Seeks to Delay $83 Million Verdict in E. Jean Carroll Defamation Case

Former president Donald Trump on Friday sought to delay his $83 million verdict in columnist E. Jean Carroll’s civil defamation case against him, arguing the ruling would be significantly reduced or outright eliminated on his appeal.

In a 21-page court filing, Trump’s lawyers asked U.S. district court judge Lewis Kaplan to suspend enforcement of the fines until a month after Trump’s post-trial motions are resolved and filed by March 7. Kaplan entered the judgment on February 8, giving Trump 30 days to post a bond for a reduction in the payment — an alternative option that Trump’s legal team proposed to the judge.

If he doesn’t delay execution of the judgment, the lawyers asked Kaplan to grant a partially secured stay by March 4 that would give Trump another 30 days to seek a bond for a fraction of the award’s sum.

“There is a strong probability that the disposition of post-trial motions will substantially reduce, if not eliminate, the amount of the judgment,” the lawyers wrote, adding that the judgment is “plainly excessive” because it violates the Constitution and federal common law.

Late last month, Trump was ordered to pay $65 million in punitive damages and $18.3 million in compensatory damages, adding to a total of $83.3 million. The final amount was nearly $60 million more than what Carroll’s side was seeking, which was $24 million.

Carroll originally sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after he repeatedly denied her sexual-assault allegations, and she lodged another suit in 2022 accusing him of rape and of again defaming her in a Truth Social post in October 2022 calling her allegations a “hoax.” The former president was found liable for defamation and sexual battery in May 2023, when he was ordered to pay $5 million in combined damages.

At the time, the jury concluded that Trump most likely sexually assaulted Carroll in 1996, as she has claimed, but rejected the allegation that he raped her. The jury also decided that Trump’s “hoax” post did defame Carroll.

Considering liability had already been determined, the second jury was tasked only with deciding how much Trump should pay Carroll over defamation in the 2019 suit, on top of the $5 million that was awarded last year. Carroll originally sought $10 million in damages, but her lawyers increased the amount to at least $24 million during the five-day trial’s closing arguments in January.

Trump has repeatedly maintained his innocence by claiming that he never met Carroll, let alone assaulted her.

The $83 million defamation verdict was the first court decision served against Trump during his run for the 2024 presidency. Last Friday, Manhattan judge Arthur Engoron ordered him to pay New York over $350 million in penalties and about $100 million in pre-judgment interest for multiple fraud counts related to his real-estate empire’s allegedly fraudulent financial statements.